How to use xorlo

About xorlo

"xorlo" is our (the baupla fuzykamni's) pet name for the gadri (articles, like "the" and "a" in English) BPFK proposal written mostly by xorxes. It has the advantage of being a gismu form. The gadri proposal (which has now been accepted by a vote of 11 to 0 by the BPFK, although it is technically subject to future changes until we declare ourselves done) is quite complete, but rather full of technical jargon.

Also, it's the biggest change we (the BPFK) have made to the language, and, God willin' and the creek don't rise, the biggest one we'll ever make. By far.

Hence, a tutorial seems prudent.

Something that needs to be noted in general: we, the BPFK, made a consensus decision that we do not make rulings on ontological or metaphysical issues; that is, we will not tell you whether phrase X has meaning or validity. That is discussion and speaker specific, and not our job. In some discussions, saying "mi kalte pa lo pavyseljirna" (which litterally means "there exists one thing that is a unicorn that I am hunting"; this implies that at least one unicorn exists) is perfectly reasonable, in others it's a reason to put someone in a mental hospital. In a similar vein, "lo" is now completely generic. This means that there are going to be disagreements about how broad it can be. For example, I think that "bear goo"(external link) is perfectly validly "lo cribe". Arnt does not. That's OK, albeit somewhat obnoxious should I ever need to talk about "bear goo". Of course, I can just use "lo pesxu be lo cribe".

General Notes

If you choose to read the proposal itself, there are a couple of things you should know. If you just want the high-level overview, and have no intention of reading the proposal, skip this section.

  • "distributively" means "not as a group", and is a term we owe largely to McKay(external link), whom we should give money to or something. See also the WP entry on plural quantification(external link). (xorxes says that we were using it before him; I still think it helped). Basically, "three men carried the piano" when handled distributively means that they each carried it. lo, le, and la are all distributive. The outer quantifier of loi, lei and lai is distributive over groups of number indicated by the inner quantifier.
  • "non-distributively" means "as a group". "Three men carried the piano" when handled non-distributively means that they all did it.
  • There are no default quantifiers. At all. For example, the default outer quantifier of "lo" used to be "su'o", which means "at least one", but that is no longer the case. "lo cribe" could be one, or a billion, or the idea of bear-ness (as in "bears like honey"), or bear goo (as in after a car accident involving a really, really big truck).
  • A side effect of the above is that in xorlo, if you mean "one bear", consider actually saying "pa cribe". It's ever so much more specific. xorxes points out that to refer to one bear, "lo pa cribe" is actually a bit better; "pa cribe cu broda" means that exactly one cribe in the whole world brodas, which is often not what you want. We (those of us that have actually been using xorlo for the last few months; there are at least half a dozen active users on #lojban now) have found that context is almost always sufficient, however.



lo is where the biggest changes occured. In fact, it's fair to say that everything but the changes to lo (and to default quantification) were mere clarifications. Here's how lo works now:

  • lo is the default gadri; if in doubt, use lo
  • lo with no outer or inner quantifier is absolutely generic; "lo broda" means "something(s) or other to do with broda", and that's about it. Thankfully, context is plenty 99% of the time. Expect to see a lot more lo!
  • In particular, you almost always want "lo nu" rather than "le nu". "lo nu" is "some event of ...", "le nu" is "some particular event of ... that I have in mind".
  • lo with an outer quantifier selects a certain number of things from among the sumti, e.g. "mu lo bakni" means "Five of the cows".
  • lo's inner quantifier indicates the number of things we're talking about, but in a slightly different fashion. "mu lo bakni cu bevri lo pipno" means "Five cows each carried a piano individually". "lo mu bakni cu bevri lo pipno" is ambiguous as to whether they did it individually or as a group. To be clear about group-ness, use loi and friends.
  • lo with both an inner and outer quantifier indicates how many of the things we are talking about are involved in the bridi. "mu lo pano bakni cu bevri lo pipno" means "Five of the ten cows each carried a piano individually".
  • The above is actually a substantial change; "lo mu bakni cu bevri lo pipno" used to mean "All the cows in the universe, of which there are 5, carry the piano". That sucked. It is still possible to say the above in xorlo, in several ways: "lo ro bakni ku noi mu mei" or "mu bakni cu zasti .i lo ro bakni cu bevri lo pipno" or others.



le is basically unchanged. Because it now carries more baggage than lo, rather than less as before, it is no longer the default choice for the discerning Lojbanist. In my post-xorlo writings, lo outnumbers le by about three to one (at a guess). I only use le when I'm talking about a specific item.

  • le is used for particular things you have in mind.
  • Because you have them in mind in your own mind, it implies that your definition of whatever (i.e. bakni in "le bakni") may not agree with everyone elses (hence the famous "le nanmu cu ninmu" for a crossdresser example).
  • If you wish to use le and not have the implication that you might be messing with your user's head, you can use "le je'u <whatever>", but in practice we all assume that you're not being a jerk and that the selbri after le actually matches reality as you understand it.
  • The outer and inner quantifiers of le act exactly like xorlo for most purposes.



la is unchanged save for clarification.

  • la has no inner quantifier; a number after la is considered part of the name.
  • la's outer quantifier is just like lo's.


The lVi Series

This is loi, lei, and lai. They act exactly like lo, le and la, respectively, except that:

  • They make things into groups (aka masses, aka non-distributive groups) for purposes of the rest of the bridi. For example, "loi mu bakni cu bevri lo pipno" definitely means that all the cows carried the piano together, as a group.
  • The inner quantifier (which lai does not have) indicates the size of the group.
  • You almost always want to use an inner quantifier with loi and lei, not an outer one. This may take a bit of getting used to.
  • The outer quantifier gives a number of groups. These are not then grouped together! This means that "re loi mu bakni cu bevri lo pipno" means that there are two groups of five cows, and that each group of five cows carried the piano.
  • That example should give an idea of the power of xorlo; some very specific things can be said in xorlo very easily.
  • Note that it is not necessarily the case that those two groups of five cows are completely distinct. They could share some members in common. Using this fact without making it clear to your listener you are doing so, however, is very poor form.
  • A fractional outer quantifier selects a portion of the group. So "pi mu loi xa bakni cu bevri lo pipno" means that one half of some group of six cows (i.e. 3 cows) carried the piano.


The lV'i Series.

This is lo'i, le'i, and la'i. They act exactly like loi, lei and lai, respectively, except that they turn their arguments into sets instead of groups. A set has only the properties of membership and cardinality (aka "how many"). They don't get used much, to be honest.

That's it. Hope you enjoy our Christmas 2004 present.

-Robin Lee Powell, BPFK jatna.

A clarification on xorlo's scope

When asked about if xorlo did anything to lo'e and le'e, xorxes replied (on 2009-12-14):

"The significant point of xorlo is that sumti without an explicit outer
quantifier are not to be taken as quantifying the bridi they appear
in. In that sense, all sumti are affected, whether it's a sumti from
KOhA or one headed by LE, LA, LAhE, LI, LU, ZO, etc.

"But other than that, I think they lo'e and le'e remain unchanged (i.e. as little
understood as before)."

Created by rlpowell. Last Modification: Sunday 08 of June, 2014 18:19:09 GMT by mukti.